Wisconsin GOP boss: Trumpless Milwaukee debate still about Trump



(The Center Square) — The mechanics of the Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee will be different without Donald Trump, but the theme won’t change.

Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Brian Schimming told News Talk 1130’s Jay Weber the Trumpless Milwaukee debate will still focus on the former president.

“Even though he’s out, he’s in,” Schminning said Monday morning. “He’s going to be a topic of conversation whether he’s there or not.”

Trump on Sunday announced on his Truth Social he will not be in Milwaukee on Wednesday for the debate.

“The public knows who I am & what a successful presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more,” Trump wrote. “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

Schimming said, as state chairman, he’d rather have Trump on the debate stage. But he also said not having Trump will give Republican voters in Wisconsin and across the country a chance to see the other candidates.

“What people will be looking for is, number one, how they react to him not being there,” Schimming said. “And number two, is how they react to these candidates and how they shape up compared to him.”

Former President Trump has a massive lead in the polls. The latest CBS News polls from Sunday gives Trump 62% of the Republican vote, compared to 16% for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and 7% for Vivek Ramaswamy. The rest of the Republican field is all at 5% or less.

Trump cited his lead in the polls as his reason for skipping the debate.

“New CBS POLL, just out, has me leading the field by ‘legendary’ numbers,” Trump said in his Truth post.

President Joe Biden’s campaign has a different take on Trump’s decision.

“Of course, Donald Trump wants to avoid appearing in Wisconsin because he knows Wisconsin is a state that illustrates his failed leadership,” Biden campaign spokesperson Kevin Munoz said in a statement. “Just this week, Foxconn announced another move out of the state. Wisconsinites soundly rejected his ongoing efforts to ban abortion in the state’s Supreme Court election earlier this year. He cannot hide from the fact that Wisconsinites rejected him in 2020 and will reject the MAGA agenda again in 2024.”

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